Q&A Nov 24, 2022

Talking Collaboration and Communication on Healthcare Projects: A Q&A with Rhonda Johnson

Health Infrastructure Q&A with Rhonda Johnson Clinical Health Planner, New Zealand

With a range of factors driving an uptick in investment in better healthcare services for communities globally, we caught up with New Zealand-based Clinical Health Planner, Rhonda Johnson, to find out what changes she’s seeing in healthcare design right now and collaboration and communication are key to delivering successful outcomes for communities.

Let's talk with Rhonda: 

Tell us what you're working on these days.

I’m involved in several New Zealand Mental Health facility new build projects and providing strategic advisory support for the delivery of a New Zealand National Mental Health Acute Inpatient Capacity Plan.

What led you to a specialty in healthcare design?

With a nursing background and interest in influencing positive patient experience, a transition to clinical health planning provided a next step in achieving this at a community/population level.

How does what you do contribute to improved health outcomes for communities?

Planning health service delivery, configuration and facilities — the ‘how, where and in what’ — is about ensuring appropriate access to care for the right people, at the right time and in the right location. It directly influences patient and family experience and health outcomes achieved.

“Planning health service delivery, configuration and facilities — the ‘how, where and in what’ — is about ensuring appropriate access to care for the right people, at the right time and in the right location.”

Rhonda Johnson

Rhonda Johnson

Jacobs Clinical Health Planner, New Zealand

What is the biggest trend you’re seeing in healthcare design right now and how does this impact what you do?

Increased requirement for collaborative partnership with Māori in the co-design of health service delivery and health facility design. Relationships are important, particularly in planning health care delivery. Ensuring a Te Ao Māori lens is applied to planning and design helps us influence and deliver more equitable health outcomes for Māori.

Name one critical success factor for any healthcare design project.

Effective communication and relationships with the client and stakeholders without a doubt.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Establishing connections with people, both client side and within the team, so that together we deliver outcomes that will positively influence patient experience and equitable health outcomes.

What has been your most interesting/proudest career moment to date?

Having an ongoing influence within the system of health services to improve the experience of patients, families and staff during what can be the most challenging times of their lives.

When you aren’t working, what would we be most likely to find you doing?

Spending time with my family or reading a book.  We are lucky to live in a great part of the world so spend our time on the water, on the ski fields and exploring new places.

What does our tagline “Challenging Today. Reinventing Tomorrow” mean to you?

For me and my work it is about reflecting on why we do what we do and considering how we can take this to the next level to achieve meaningful and improved outcomes, incorporating learnings from past experience, projects and research. 

What do you enjoy most about being part of #OurJacobs?

That I am supported to extend my abilities to be the best I can be in what I do.

About the interviewee

Rhonda Johnson

With 20 years' experience as a nurse and five as a health planner, Rhonda Johnson is committed to influencing high standards of care delivery for patients and whanau (extended family) through the facility planning and design process. She has particular interest in the provision of health care and equity of access for New Zealand rural communities.

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